Question was inspired by this user from Yahoo, thought I'd get some opinions on this on Think Atheist.

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Perhaps, but then why do we like seeing tigers in a zoo, or are interested in preserving them? From an evolutionary standpoint that runs false surely? In an evolutionary sense we ought to be trying to make them extinct! They're fucking dangerous!

We intuit that tigers have some value, but aren't wholly able to explain why we think that (from an evolutionary defense-mechanism standpoint. They are fucking dangerous)

Okay, I'll bite. Why does preventing the extinction of tigers run contrary to evolution? Be specific.

We intuit that tigers have some value, but aren't wholly able to explain why we think that (from an evolutionary defense-mechanism standpoint.

What in the world is "an evolutionary defense-mechanism"?

We can - it's called an MRI.  We do not currently have high enough resolution to get a fully detailed, quantifiable measurement, but we get a little closer with each upgrade to the technology.

Yeah. I have heard of an MRI. If we had high enough resolution then, we could measure someone thinking about a number, and would be able to say what? The number 8 = this amount of units of electricity in this direction, between these synapses in this pattern. Presumably then, different numbers would have different values in these fields.

Does this mean then, that the number 8 is reducible to these values? That does not seem to explain sufficiently what 8 or 2 or pi represents. Would we all have identical values in these fields?

Individual brains store information with subtle differences - this is what accounts for our different personalities even when our experiences have been remarkably similar.  Current neurology suggests that we can really only conceive of rather small numbers.  Numbers like 2 and 3 or "two-ness and threeness" seems to be rather hard wired from birth.  In reality no one can really think of a million - but we have other strategies for working with such numbers, such as thinking of 'six zeroes'.

Abstract ideas evolve, bit by bit, in the neurological patterns that constitute individual consciousnesses.  Sometimes an abstract idea can span more than one consciousness.

In what sense do you mean 'span'?

It is possible that the pattern that forms a particular idea is formed in more than one brain.  We have some concepts that are so large that no single person can be said to fully grasp them in their entirety.  Individuals work with pieces of such ideas.

If these concepts are so large, that no single person can grasp them in their entirety, and abstract thoughts exist in brains, where does this concept exist?

If you and I are looking at the same building from different angles, and I cannot see what you can see, and vice versa, the building itself still exists in a physical sense.

If abstract ideas are held in brains, where does this large concept exist in the physical world?

I've already stated where this idea exists when I introduced the concept - I am not interested in your circular discussions.  You are being willfully obtuse.

Absolutely not. You said that abstract ideas exist in brains. How can this concept exist if not in a brain. How can you and I look at the same concept and see different parts of it, but not it's whole, where does it exist, as a whole? Nowhere?

If nowhere than how is it that you and I are in the process of creating an identical thing that does not exist anywhere in the physical world? How are we perceiving two separate parts of something that does not exist, but if it were possible to finally comprehend, we would both see the exact same thing?

It's all magic and exists only in the Brahma-mind.  Now go read the Vedas and you will be enlightened to everything my lotus-child.

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